We speak with aspiring pilots every day about their aviation goals and dreams. While not every future pilot dreams of being a professional pilot flying airliners across the oceans, just about everybody has a goal in mind whether it is traveling, flying with friends locally, or even owning their own airplane.
Here are some of the most common questions we field about what you can do with your Private Pilot License.
Can I own my own airplane? Certainly! A Private Pilot License typically allows the pilot to fly a single engine airplane that lands on hard surfaces (as opposed to airplanes designed to land in the water.) Just about every airplane you will ever fly will be slightly different than the ones you have previously flown. For this reason most aircraft insurance providers require that you receive training in the specific model of airplane you own before you are allowed to fly it solo. The amount of training required scales with how much flight time you have and the size of the airplane you want to fly. A pilot with lots of experience desiring to fly a small airplane might only require a small amount of training, if any. A new or low time pilot that wants to fly a larger airplane may require substantial training before they are allowed to fly solo. Some aircraft may even require an additional license such as multiengine airplanes or airplanes that may land in the water. Other aircraft may require an endorsement from a flight instructor such as tailwheel aircraft, high performance (+201hp) and complex (retractable landing gear, flaps, and constant speed propeller.)
Can I bring people with me? Yes! Flying is more fun when you can share it with your friends and family. The only limitation is the size of the airplane and how much weight it can carry. Just because an airplane has four-seats doesn’t mean that it can carry four adults. Once you add in fuel and baggage, there might only be enough available weight for two or three people.
Where can I go? It’s more like, where can’t you go? There are some areas of the US that are restricted or prohibited to aircraft but in general you can go wherever you want provided you have the time. Smaller aircraft like the ones we train in or the ones typically owned by private individuals travel at a fraction of the speed airliners do so getting to California might take a couple days instead of 5 hours in an airliner. Of course, the flight is most of the fun! Our students have gone on to see almost every state, both coasts, and even other countries (you can do that, too!) It should be noted that if your goal is to travel, we strongly recommend continuing your training beyond the Private Pilot License and obtain the instrument rating. This will make you a much more capable, safer pilot and allow you to navigate the wide range of weather you are bound to encounter in your travels.
Can I get a job with a Private Pilot License? Private pilots are strictly prohibited from being compensated in any way for their flying services. You can’t accept money. Your friends and passengers can’t pay for more than their pro-rata share of the flight’s expenses such as fuel or landing fees. The instant you want to accept payment for your piloting services you must have a commercial pilot certificate.
Can I do volunteer flying? There are a number of organizations that rely on volunteer pilots to carry medical supplies, medical patients, relief supplies, rescue animals You can but most non-profits that provide flight services have significant flight requirements for their volunteering pilots that oftentimes mirrors the requirements the FAA has set for the commercial pilot license.
Can I rent an airplane? Our airplanes are available for rental for pilots that have received a full rental checkout with our staff. It is rare for any of our aircraft to be available for more than a few hours at a time as our flight training schedule keeps them busy.
Your Private Pilot License is the gateway to the aviation life that you get to create. You are free to build and grow that in which ever direction you want. Whether that is towards airplane ownership, a career, or simple lazy Sundays cruising around, it all starts with the Private Pilot License.